Overlooking FIFA crisis, Blatter calls for more women leaders

Outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter has called for more women in leadership roles in soccer.

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

ZURICH —

Sepp Blatter called on soccer officials to start hiring more women for leadership jobs, in written comments Friday that did not address his own embattled presidency.

Blatter told FIFA staff earlier this week he’s determined to remain in power until February’s emergency presidential election despite being under criminal investigation for financial wrongdoing.

Blatter had to speak through his external lawyers, rather than using FIFA’s communications machine, to issue that statement on Monday.

But it was business as usual for the 79-year-old president on Friday as he retained his column in the in-house magazine where he discussed a program for women hosted by FIFA in Zurich this week.

”Football continues to be dominated by men,” Blatter wrote in FIFA Weekly. ”It is our duty to change this. Women must feel that they have an equal chance of succeeding in football as their male counterparts.

”FIFA, the confederations and our member associations have to break the cycle that makes it so much easier for men to ascend to positions of responsibility. This is not just a moral duty.”

Blatter said there is ”compelling evidence that gender-balanced organizations make better decisions and produce better results.”

DIZZYING SWING

There are currently no female contenders in the race to succeed Blatter in the Feb. 26 election.

”Football needs more women in leadership,” Blatter wrote. ”Those that govern the game must show now that we are all serious about answering that call.”

Blatter’s own position has been weakened as lawyers oversee key decisions at scandal-battered FIFA and he waits to hear whether he will be suspended by the ethics committee.